Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Young Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting & Running A Business by Steve Mariotti

Having my own business (sort of), the new book, The Young Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting & Running A Business by Steve Marriott appealed to me.  Although at age 40, I'm not part of the "young entrepreneur" target audience, I felt this book's principles could still apply to me and my start up business.  Personally, I feel that the term "young" in the title can also refer to the fact that this book is simply written and easy to understand - like an introductory business textbook or manual.  Regardless of age, I feel anyone with a new, emerging or even defunct business, can apply the principles of Marriott's book to bring new life and success to a new or existing small business.   The title might make this book appear to be exclusive, but it really is applicable for any new businessman or businesswoman. 

This trade paperback is like a business text- with blocks of black highlighting, graphics and diagrams, to hold the attention of the reader.  Rather than laborious lines of text, the material is broken up into smaller sub headings with charts, diagrams and sidebars of information. It is an easy to read book, with no business or economic background needed to understand. Spotlights on actual business owners are included through out the book.

This book is organized in an orderly format, based on the chronological common sense steps to creating and running a business. A lot of business related background information is provided to start the reader on the process. The author does not assume the reader has any prior business knowledge.  There are sections on creating a business, dealing with customers, money management, strategies as well as a wealth of legal and financial information and even human resources information .  This book includes everything- no stone is left unturned.  The reader will finish this book and feel satisfied about having the answers to all the information.  This is a resource for every small business owner to keep on the shelf and return to.  It isn't a book to read once, and discard as it contains valuable resources for every stage of one's business. Short of having a CPA or attorney on retainer, this is the one and only resource that the reader will need.  This book empowers and motivates all at once.  It arms the reader with information and encouragement - a one stop resource. There is even a reference section including a glossary and even a "math cheat sheet" with important formulas and concepts and how to calculate essential figures. The subtitle "Turn Your Ideas Into Money" may seem to trivialize this book into a spur of the moment gimmick type of endeavor or impulse purchase.  This book is much more than that. this book educates and informs the reader with the concrete, practical information and steps to create a business and to run an existing business.

As a blogger I received this book published by Crown Business for the purpose of writing this review.

Deliver Us From Evil by Don Basham

Deliver Us From Evil- A Pastor's Reluctant Encounters with the Powers of Darkness, is a first person, auto- biographical account written by Don Basham. This book is a 2014 reprint of the original published in 1972.  Written over 40 years ago, this monumental, charismatic Christian book was ahead of its time, spearheading the deliverance ministry and the concept of literal spiritual gifts.

The author was a pastor and bases this memoir  on his personal experiences and personal anecdotes from his ministry experiences. Some may find these stories difficult to believe and a bit theatrical.  In it important to keep in mind the charismatic background of the author is based on the belief of the real workings of the Holy Spirit and the literal belief in modern day spiritual gifts such as tongues and healings.  

Much of the book is an invaluable resource where the author has taken scriptural truths and promises- and relate them to the modern day believer to use and apply when facing any trial or work from the enemy.  The scriptural references especially in the last chapter, "Pages from my notebook"  will empower any reader with a quick resource of how to respond in faith to any difficulty- large and small.  It is a spiritual self help book as well as a memoir,  in the fact that it will allow the reader the tools to look within himself and identify any areas or issues where Satan has his foothold.  The chapters, "Keeping our deliverance" and "Right now in your own room" is like an instruction manual to equip the reader with the tools for the deliverance ministry as well as for personal deliverance.  These final chapter really make this work personal and allow the reader to relate to the Pastor's story as a participant and not simply as a spectator.  Not only that it tells the reader how to face and address these issues! For those who are at a loss of how to begin to approach their spiritual problems there are a number of sample prayers applicable to any number of situations. There is sufficient, introductory material and background material  on the devil and possession so that readers unfamiliar with these concepts won't feel lost.

The cover alone will draw in the reader, with its mysterious antique devilish gargoyle looking over a quaint, old fashioned, broken cityscape.  Ironically, the antiqued,  aged yellowed cover gives this 40 year old account a fresh new look for a new generation of open minded readers thirsty for anything about the occult or possession.  Not only will this book draw in the Christian but perhaps horror movie and occult enthusiasts alike.  I received this book published by Chosen, a division of the Baker Publishing Group, for the purpose of writing this review. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Collision:The Battle For Darracia

In his new science fantasy novel, Collision, book 2 of the new series, The Battle for Darracia, Michael Philip Cash creates a surreal, richly developed futuristic world complete with its own religion, social norms and castes as well as  political intrigue. 

Beginning with the first word of the 241 page, novel, Cash captures the hungry reader's attention with an explicit description of a surreal alien planet whose shores "were fine black sand dotted with purple sea glass.... a shooting cosmic spray spread across the inky darkness..." (page 2), as well as its mysterious indigenous "silver crabs".   It is clear that the author put a great deal of thought and research in creating an entirely  new fantasy world right from scratch. Rivaling the depth and imagination of Tolkein's and C.S. Lewis' beloved fantasy worlds, Cash creates a futuristic, sci-fi reality with the same level of imaginative development as Tolkien's middle earth world.  This book transports the reader into a new futuristic fantasy world. No detail is too insignificant for Cash in his visual description of a surreal and futuristic world with its futuristic landscape. The significance of its ancient religion in society and political upheaval and class wars transcends time and space- representing common elements of society that all readers will relate to.  This richly developed world will appeal to history and political enthusiasts as well as fantasy and science fiction fans. The title itself is symbolic -with its dual meaning, referring not only to a cosmic event, but a socio-political event as well.

From the first page to the last, the reader gets the unexpected.  The unique ending of Collision, leaves the reader impatient to find out what happens to V'Sair in the third book. 

This epic story's backdrop is original.  This is a new world the reader will become immersed in like adapting to a new culture.  Yet the themes are universal- coming of age and the quest for identity themes and the pursuit of purpose present a story line that readers of all ages can relate to.  The eerie unfamiliar setting is set side by side with ordinary and  universal ideas. Cash creates a series  that sociologists, historians, scientists as well as fantasy enthusiasts will enjoy dissecting and analyzing.
Fans of the ever popular  StarWars, Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek series will enjoy the well developed characters as well as appreciate the intergalactic quest for peace and purpose and royal intrigue.  Parallel elements found  in this series are reminiscent of a combination of elements drawn from popular science fiction so that readers will feel right at home with Cash's story.  It is ironic that a horror and mystery writer can cross into the fantasy genre  with such ease. The same talent used in developing three dimensional characters and their personal struggles as well as interpersonal relationships found in Cash's  earlier works is evident in this fantasy novel as well.
At first glance this may seem like a quick read but from the very first chapter it becomes clear that the reader has entered a new world. As a reader I found myself immersed with Cash's lively description and vivid writing style.  I recommend this as a good book for any young adult or science fiction fan. 

The only changes I'd suggest for this book relate to its format.  A change from the first book of the series is that this second book is now a smaller sized mass paperback format which is more suitable for this genre in contrast to a full sized trade paperback with thick pages. The paragraph format is not  traditional in that there are no tab spaced intentions to signify the start of a new paragraph.  Justification of the text blocks on the right side of the page would give a more professional page appearance.  I feel an embossed raised cover would do this story more justice in capturing the attention of the reader. A third book is anticipated for this series.  I'd like to see all three books in one boxed gift set, with an inclusion of a celestial map.

As a blogger I received this book published by Red Feather publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The New Spirit Filled Life Bible NIV

The newest edition of the New Spirit Filled Life Bible- Kingdom Equipping Through the Power of the Word- Jack W. Hayford is now available in the easy to read New International Version  (NIV).  Joined together in this bible is both the popular Spirit Filled bible which was previously available in the KJV or NKJV and the more modern easy to read NLT.  Thomas Nelson publishers has many themed bibles, but most of them are available only in the New King James  translation.  Therefore making this bible available in NIV makes the bible more accessible to so many more readers who find the KJV or NKJ too antiquated. 

This themed bible places emphasis on spiritual gifts and is consistent charismatic Christian tradition which places emphasis on modern day spiritual gifts such as tongues.  This issue of spiritual gifts is divisive enough to cause distinct denominations within the Christian church.  Nevertheless, the ideas of spiritual gifts is not a major doctrine and therefore not an issue of theology that is fundamental to faith.  The idea behind charismatic believers is that the gift of tongues and other physical miracles from the ancient church and apostles is still available today to all believers.  And then there are bible believers who are just as solid in their faith who believe that these spiritual signs are no longer available having served their purpose in the early church and Jesus' lifetime and that Jesus is the only testimony we need.  Furthermore, charismatic churches believe in a second "installment" or "infusion" of the Holy Spirit distinct from what the believer receives when he is born again.  These concepts are very well explained in the articles and reference materials in the back of this bible.  Basically anything you wanted to know about the history and biblical roots of the charismatic movement is here in this bible! This bible is like Charismatics 101- an introductory course as well as more advanced indepth material as well.

Within the bible text there are sidebars of information clearly designated from the bible text.  The reader will find concepts such as "Word Wealth" and "Kingdom Dynamic" which provides more information and expands on biblical concepts, theology and terminology.  The end of the bible books include "Truth in Action" charts as well. All these helps draw the reader into a deeper understanding of the bible and its message.  Word Wealth is basically like a dictionary, defining a specific word or concept.  The only issue is that it references the "Strong's" text which many reader might be unfamiliar with.  There are also maps and charts throughout.  The subtle insertion of color breaks up the monotony of the columns and sets apart the biblical helps.  Yet along with the two column format, the extensive notes on the bottom and the references in the center column, the bible text looks a bit too broken up and choppy.  This is not a problem for those who appreciate the wealth of study helps available in this single bible volume. One other issue is that the pages are super thin and delicate.  In fact, on a humid day, the pages curled up like waves just like my own hair on a humid day!  I imagine this technical production issue can not be helped as many study bibles have thin pages.  The irony of this situation is that the heavier use a bible is likely to get because it is a study bible, the thinner the pages tend to be! Yet to keep the size of the bible manageable, and rom weighing as much as a watermelon, this "onion skin" or tissue type of paper is the best option in the manufacturing process. 

 The same scholarly helps and notes available in the other translations are here in the NIV.  I believe this lends academic and scholarly credibility to the  NIV version which frequently is dismissed by elitists or traditionalists who feel that nothing less than the KJV or NKJV is adequate.   As a blogger for bookszeeze I received this bible published by Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey

Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey combines fast paced narrative and in-depth expository writing in one lengthy work.  Based on a true account, as the subtitle indicates, this book is the true saga of "One Engineering Marvel, Five men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness".  One word of caution, those readers looking for quick, easy summer reading for the beach should look elsewhere.  Full of facts, as well as social, political and historical background information-this book makes for intense reading and is not a casual choice for one expecting to complete a novel in two days.

This book is the produce of intense research and investigation, on the part of the author, Neil Swidey, who devoted painstaking effort to provide the reader with every last biographical detail of the five heroes as well as the fine technical details of high risk engineering project miles under the sea. The writing is newspaperesque at times, in which the author objectively explains the events.  The science behind the mission is thoroughly detailed.  There is even a technical detailed, labeled illustration of the project.  Furthermore, the author goes into the detailed science behind hypoxia and oxygen deprivation that even a layman can understand.  The minute detail of oxygen deprivation miles under the sea, combined with the exciting, frantic dialog of the men in danger makes for some interesting, fast paced reading.  For example, on page 162, Swidey discusses the biology and psychology of oxygen deprivation: "When the body fails to get enough oxygen.... the first sign is usually frustration.  Then comes a fogginess.... marked by impaired judgement and reduced motor skills.  If nothing is done to restore the oxygen supply, the hypoxia will lead to unconsciousness and then inexorably death" page 162 The vivid description of oxygen deprivation is continued on page 200 in a fascinating description of the brain, and the higher need for oxygen in response to stress.  "After enough oxygen deprivation...[the] brain cells simply die" (page 200), analogous to a candle that simply flickers out.  This explanation is provided alongside an intense scene where the men's lives are endangered and right before a dramatic scene where one of the men calls out "Man Down!" (page 202)and  contemplates a risky but futile rescue effort for one of his found buddies in respiratory arrest. 

This book spans its coverage years before the disaster and the years following as well.  The author discusses general principles of risk and responsibility.  This is not like a quick fictionalized adaption of a dramatic story.  This 418 book includes a detailed notes and appendix as if it were a reference book.  In fact this would make good reading material for a college student doing sociological or technical research into a monumental. ambitious project, Boston's treatment plant and 10 mile underwater tunnel.  For anyone who has ever read a book and just wanted to "know More" of every detail, then this book is a perfect choice.  For those looking for a simple quick choice- those readers will most likely not be able to trudge through the first chapters. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Crown publishers, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing company, for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Universe by Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves

The Universe by Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves is  a  fully illustrated, full color - 88 page, soft cover science text for elementary students.  Every possible experiment having to do with space and the universe is included in this book.  Information about everything from the moon, the sun, planets, comets, flight, telescopes and more is included in this comprehensive book.  As with any text book for students, there is a glossary of terms and a question answer opportunity with the "Investigative Problems" feature with each section to reinforce the material learned.  This impressive book contains high quality photos, graphics and charts.  Based on the cover alone, I was very surprised to see the amount of information contained in this simple looking text.

Although marketed as an elementary text for the home schooled market, this ambitious  book easily fits into the popular non fiction science genre for young pre-teen readers and elementary students. This stand alone book need not be confined to the classroom.  Illustrated with full color photos, diagrams, charts and illustrations, this book is sure to hold the attention of any young reader. Some of the photo spreads are so impressive they are like works of art. The sharp, crisp image of outerspace depicted on page 11might not be scientifically plausible, but it is beautiful and sure to spark the imaginations of young minds.   The beautiful photograph of the Crab Nebula on page 80 is sharp in quality.  Hands on "Investigation" pages as well as  experiments are dispersed throughout the text of the book. There are 20 total experiments included which would make this book a perfect lab manual for an elementary science course.  In my opinion, this student text, fits well into the ever popular, emerging non fiction science genre as recreational or educational reading for any  reader.  As for using it as a text, perhaps this is more suited  as an additional resource to a more thorough science text- it is good way to bring to life, the subject of Earth Science, and space. 

This book is marketed towards the homeschooling, Christian family.  Reading through this text, you will find discussion of the creation and the age of the earth- a point of contention between secular evolutionists and creationists.  Presented in an academic and professional format, this book ties together faith and science, giving much needed credibility to biblical creation without sacrificing academic scholarship.  It is hard to comprehend the amount of scholarship and research contained in this 88 page indepth textbook.  While written for a childrens' curriculum, I am sure parents and educators will enjoy this book as well.  This book leaves no stone unturned and is certain to answer countless questions about a host of science topics that go far beyond the topic of space and the universe.  This edition is part of the educational series of elementary science books, "Investigate the Possibilities". 
This particular edition is part of a three volume set- including a Teacher's Guide, and Student Journal.  Although the original text was analogous to a lab text, the intended purpose of the Student Journal is to accompany the main text to serve as a workbook or lab book.  There are 20 activities coinciding with the main text, and plenty of writing space for the student.  The questions provided add extra opportunities to learn the material. The teacher's guide is like any other teacher's guidebook with a the student text pages reproduced with guided discussion, and objectives spelled out to help the teacher or home educator. 

 As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I received a copy of this book by Master Books and imprint of New Leaf publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

available at online

fb party information and book link-up

God's Covenant With You by John Eckhardt

God's Covenant With You For Deliverance &Freedom by John Eckhardt maybe a small pocket sized book, but it is a valuable referenda  is worth reading multiple times in order to empower the reader when confronting personal crisis and trials.  Not many Christian readers understand the debilitating influence of Satan and the concept of the Holy Spirit; that we are all called to fight against the devil, our Enemy. The authors present scriptural background and bible passages for the reader not simply to read but to use,  to resist and fight against the devil with the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The main focus on the book is to show the reader using biblical excerpts, and minimal extraneous text,  to use the tools to defeat the influence of Satan as well as to expose the works and deceptions of the devil as well.  This book is a wake up call to the subtleties of Satan's deception and how deep rooted his sphere may reach.
  In it important to keep in mind the charismatic background of the author is based on the belief of the real workings of the Holy Spirit and the literal belief in modern day spiritual gifts such as tongues and healings. For those readers who may not be convinced or are unfamiliar with the Charismatic ministry, the author provides biblical background to illustrate that "deliverance" may be equated with Jesus' references to "bread" or "the Children's bread" from the gospels.  While some readers may feel that this is taken out of context and does not actually refer to the deliverance ministry, the author makes a convincing argument in support of that interpretation, nevertheless . Eckhardt has taken scriptural truths and promises- and relates them to the modern day believer to use and apply when facing any trial or work from the enemy.  The scriptural references  will empower any reader with a quick resource of how to respond in faith to any difficulty- large and small.  Strongholds and many other satanic obstacles are addressed.   Not only that, the author provides the tools-the words themselves, that have the power to loose an inflicted individual from the devil.  This book is nothing short of a  spiritual self help book in the fact that it will allow the reader the tools to look within himself and identify any areas or issues where Satan has his foothold.  There is also a section about the significance of fasting.  Those who never have fasted or have considered its significance, might even be convinced after reading this book.  John Eckhardt is a very persuasive writer.  For those who are at a loss of how to begin to approach their spiritual problems there are a number of sample prayers and powerful statements applicable to any number of situations. As a blogger for the Booketeria I received this book published by Charisma House for the purpose of writing this review.

I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages by Alex Marestaing

In his new fiction novel for younger readers, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages, author Alex Marestaing, combines elements of gothic drama, the supernatural and mystery. The author goes deeply into the mind of a troubled teenaged boy and the toxic, enabling environment of his dysfunctional family. A family tragedy and unresolved grief has impacted the remaining members of the Reed family, keeping each imprisoned and stunted in grief. Most of all, Caleb has disassociated himself from life, withdrawing into his own demented, isolated world as a shut-in, never leaving the smothering confines of his home.  It is clear that Marestaino has a keen insight into the psychology of grief and dysfunction, enabling him to create well developed three dimensional characters. As a reader, I found myself distressed by the enabling atmosphere that allowed Caleb's isolation and psychosis to thrive.

The mysterious handwritten notes, the sublime messages and surreal atmosphere was so engaging that I could not put the book down.  Elements of gothic horror- hints of mysterious, ghostly apparitions, and a dilapidated, neglected house added an eerie element. The author's keen insight into the mind of an 1800s novelist made the unusual story seem plausible in an unearthly way.  One main distraction was Caleb's repetitious, paranoid and obsessive thoughts which seemed to get in the way of the mysterious flow of the story.  Nevertheless, Caleb's repetitive thought processes and exaggerated fears, were the product of his mental condition.  Nevertheless Caleb himself retained the ability to recognize his shortcomings.

In this story, an unlikely pair of teenagers each with different motives, join forces, unknowingly, to discover the unbelievable truth behind the mysterious notes.  There is closure for Caleb's pain, and the beginning of a healing process.  For once their is a piece of young adult fiction, intelligently written that does not focus on romance.  This story is complete and engaging without the typical young adult romance plot.  I would recommend this book for any young adult reader who is tired of the usual teenaged novel, and wishes to read a story with substance.  Even adults will enjoy this book as it is written well enough, with sufficient detail to engage even more advanced readers.  As a blogger, I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.